Should I Wait to Have a Second Child?María Arellano
Family planning for a second child
Being a new mother can be overwhelming and thinking about a second child after having barely survived the first (hey being a mama is WORK) brings to bear a whole gama of mixed emotions that can range from doubt and small doses of anxiety to stranger feelings such as resentment or fear.
Family planning is one of the fundamental topics tied to our core values here at hiMama.
While you do not have to wait many years to have your second son / daughter, the truth is that it is not even mandatory to change your current family dynamic.
In this post we are going to talk about the pros and cons of broadening an already established family (which has been functioning well with only one child) and about the questions you can answer to know if you and your family are ready to plan to take the next big step together, that quantum leap of adding a newborn, adorable and beloved member to the family.
Only child syndrome versus second child syndrome
It turns out that no matter what decision you make about adding a new member to the family, your first son or daughter will be affected.
You are making the decision to give him a brother or sister. This is where the crossroad begins:
on the one hand your first child can remain as an only child for the rest of his / her life or, on the other, she / he will have to learn to share space, affections, attention, toys and food with someone smaller and more vulnerable.
Is a bigger family a better family?
A bigger family isn’t necessarily a better family and you should take this into account when family planning.
Adding another member to the family is much more like creating a whole new family again!
Wooh! Hold your horses! There are so many things you COULD worry about when deciding to have a second child.
Here’s a list of questions and problem areas to focus on created by Melanie Pinola at LifeHacker that can give you a broader look at making this important life move.
For now, let’s concentrate on the when so you can relax (or stress) about getting pregnant sooner rather than later.
How long should you wait before having your second child
Recent studies indicate faster isn’t necessarily better. In fact, there is an exact amount of time you should wait. Exactly more than 18 months and less than five years!
Specialists suggest that waiting 18 months gives the mother’s body time to recover from the previous pregnancy and birth.
The recovery implies getting back to an ideal weight as well as balancing vitamin and minerals. The mother’s health in turn affects the baby’s health:
Studies suggest that getting pregnant within 18 months after your first child is born can make it more likely that your second child will be born early, underweight, or smaller than usual for the number of months he was in the womb. (via Baby Center)
On the other hand, these same affectations are more likely among children with five years or more separation from their previous sibling.
Waiting over five years between pregnancies has also been associated with higher risk of developing preeclampsia.
The perfect time for a second child
If you are asking yourself, is there a perfect time to have a second child, the answer is yes, sort of!
Specialists suggest that waiting 18 months but less than five years is ideal for the mother and incoming baby.
Other factors to take into account when considering timing the new baby’s conception include when to stop using birth control, determining how much time to take off from work, and taking a closer look at your finances especially if being able to afford childcare is necessary for your current work-life dynamic.
According to Parents.com if you wait over five years each child will be considered an only child, having had the time to develop a sense of independence from their parents as well as having the benefit of lots of individual attention.
Make sure to let us know if this post has helped you make your decision and how you are doing with your family planning!